Is Martin Jones’ red-hot start all about his own talent or the support he receives from the strong team in front of him?
One could argue both sides, but the Los Angeles Kings probably don’t care, as the young goalie improved to 8-0-0 thanks to a 3-2 shootout win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
Jones tied an NHL record by winning his first eight regular season games in the same season, sharing a mark with Bob Froese (who did so in 1982-83). Ray Emery stretched nine straight decisions over a larger frame, accounting for a separate record that’s also in Jones’ reach.
He still hasn’t had an ugly game yet, either. Colorado beat him twice on 25 shots, so the 23-year-old has allowed eight goals in eight games played. His GAA is still a shade below 1.00, however, as this game went beyond regulation. His save percentage “dropped” to an unsustainable .966 mark with this win.
Jeff Carter and Justin Williams gave the Kings a 2-0 lead early in the second period, but Colorado produced two power-play goals (Jones has only yieled four even-strength goals so far this season) to send the game to OT.
Impressively, Matt Duchene remains almost as hot as Jones; he has 12 points in his last six games and a four-game multi-point streak (two goals, seven assists) going.
It wasn’t enough to beat the Kings, however. Los Angeles improves to 26-7-5 while Colorado falls to 23-10-3 on the season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.
“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”
(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)
Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.
The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.
McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious
It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.
The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.
Anticipation has been building since the Winnipeg Jets officially took Patrik Laine with the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.
On Friday, Laine, the highly coveted Finnish forward, will make his preseason debut for the Jets when they play the Edmonton Oilers in Winnipeg, as the home fans get the chance to take in the occasion.
The Jets have done a nice job of amassing good young forwards in their organization. Laine, who has the gifts to be a prolific scorer in the NHL, is at the top of that prospect list.
Laine enters this season with high expectations placed on him from fans and media, after coming to the NHL following a standout career in Finland as a teenager. He’s aware of the expectations, but toned down the hype with the usual statements of just playing his game.
“Just be brave on the ice and show everybody I will earn my spot on the team,” he told reporters.
Laine has already seen game action this month. Not with the Jets, but with Finland’s entry at the World Cup of Hockey.
Following offseason knee surgery, Laine wasn’t happy with his performance in Finland’s first pre-tournament game. In three tournament games, Laine failed to register a point, despite a team-best 10 shots on goal, as Finland was quickly eliminated in the round robin.